We wish you all a peaceful holiday season. We acknowledge all the hard work each and everyone one of you does to support and uplift our communities. We recognize that many organizations’ staff and community volunteers will continue to work throughout the holidays. Thank you!
Yesterday’s winter Solstice celebration reminds us to honor the changes of the season and our connection to nature. Key outcomes announced this week from COP15 UN Biodiversity Conference and the signing of the Kunming-Montreal Global Biodiversity Framework gives us hope that world leaders are taking action.
“We have become the impatient species, too busy to let nature replenish itself and too puffed up with our own sense of importance to acknowledge our utter dependency on its generosity.” – David Suzuki
The Framework recognizes that without a social justice perspective, climate policies risk exacerbating the already unacceptable gap between rich and poor:
- High-income families are responsible for a disproportionate share of the emissions that lead to climate change;
- Low-income families can’t afford electric cars, retro-fitting homes or other measures that are usually proposed to reduce emissions;
- Low-income residents risk being adversely affected by the carbon tax, higher electricity bills and other pricing measures than wealthier citizens.
Climate change is influencing our community wellbeing, creating greater risks to both physical and mental health. Read more about local action:
- Climate Related Health Impacts, Grey Bruce Public Health
- Grey County Climate Change Action Plan
- Grey Bruce Sustainability Map of local groups
Creating safe spaces that allow us to recharge in the winter is a luxury. For many, these safe spaces don’t exist but collective efforts are happening to carry out wellness checks, provide support and services. We have a mental health & addiction crisis fueling a homelessness crisis.
- Grey Bruce Coordinated Access: reported that in November 2022 there were 198 households active on the By Names List (BNL), with 156 of these households identified as experiencing chronic homelessness.
- Bruce County (40 HHs) actively homeless and Grey County (158 HHS) at the time of their referral.
- The average number of months experiencing homelessness for households on the BNL is 9.
- The average acuity (scale from 1-10) is a 4.5. This would indicate that those experiencing homelessness are from vulnerable demographics and/or experiencing tri-morbidity and/or sleeping rough.
- Short Term Shelter Program: will be operating through the holidays. Call 211 for anyone experiencing 211 to access emergency housing support in Grey County and Bruce County. Coordination with hospital discharges and shelter have been anticipated and negotiated to ensure people will be housed.
- Despite any bans against accessing services, everyone will be offered a room until January 4th. Outreach workers will be working through the holidays to check on people in motel shelters.
Lower tier municipalities, cities and towns will respond with plans under an Extreme Weather Warning. Warming Stations are listed on 211.
However, this year we may experience extreme weather on the holiday weekend when most of the organizations are closed on Dec 25th.
To know who is open/closed during the holidays for support please call 211. Please update your Holiday schedules with 211 online or by emailing John Meakin, firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Safe N Sound: extended hours are in place M-F 9am-3pm. 5pm-10pm and Sat 10am-10pm, Sun 12pm – 10pm but will be closed Dec 25th and 26th.
- M’Wikwedong IFC Housing: staff will be on call through the holidays for emergency housing support.
- M’Wikwedong IFC: 2 Spirit Youth drop-in, Tuesdays, 3:30-5:30.
- M’Wikwedong IFC: adult drop-in, Mondays, 5-8pm, starting in January 2023.
- South East Grey CHC: shall be closed Dec 23rd to Dec 27th Markdale office, Dec 23rd to Dec 30th at Dundalk location.
- If you are a woman experiencing gender-based violence, and need immediate assistance, call 911.
- Women’s House serving Grey Bruce offers emergency shelter Crisis Line: 519-396-9655, 1-866-578-5566, Toll Free 1-800-265-3026. And also recommendations for Creating Safe Spaces,
- St. Georgen’s Anglican Church: – Open each Thursday (except December 29). 3 to 4:00 p.m. in the Hall – a safe and inclusive space.
Many food hampers, gift cards and toys have been distributed by organizations across Grey Bruce. Many of them required early registration. An incredible outpouring of Christmas cheer meant that many families have support for the holidays. Big and small efforts are always appreciated.
211 has the full list of Christmas hampers and meals.
- The Salvation Army Owen Sound: provides $40,000 worth of groceries to local families every month. In 2022, they served 800 individuals/month (an increase from 600 individuals in 2021).
- St. Aidan’s Grey/Bruce: provided over 10,000 frozen meals for programs across Grey Bruce in 2022.
- Owen Sound: takeaway meals served at noon at OSHARE, 946 3rd Ave East. Please call 519-371-0957 for more information. Closed on January 1st. Safe N Sound is hosting a Christmas Dinner for participants on Friday December 23rd at 5:30pm Closed Dec 25th and 26th.
- Hanover: Grace United Church, 310 12th Street. Doors open at 11:30am and dinner will be served at 12:00pm. Please let Faye know you’re coming. 519-377-9774.
- Wiarton: For residents of the townships of South Bruce Peninsula, a dinner will be available either as sit-down or take-away on December 21st at The Salvation Army Wiarton Community Church. Delivery available. Sit-in: 1 pm & take out: 2:30 pm. Call 519-534-0353. 576 Edward Street.
- Saugeen Shores: on December 24th, dinner will be delivered and is heat-and-serve in Saugeen Shores and Saugeen First Nation. Register by Dec 20, 2022. Delivery: Dec 24, 2022, 3 pm-5 pm. To order your delivery, contact Chuck or Linda at: 519-832-6003 or SSChristmasdinner@gmail.com.
- Grey Highlands: Registration up to Dec 19, 2022. Pickup: Dec 23, 2022 12:30 pm-2 pm. Gentle Shepherd Community Church (Eugenia Campus; 426176 Concession 8). Call Mary at 519-924-3832 to register.
- Kincardine: Register by Tue Dec 20, 2022. Call 519-396-2001. Doors open at 12:30 pm Christmas Day with the meal starting at 1 pm. St Anthony’s of Padus Catholic Church (749 Russell St).
- Durham: on Christmas day, doors open at 1 pm and dinner is served at 3 pm. Durham Community Centre, 451 Saddler St W.
- GOST: due to the potential weather moving into the area, the GOST afternoon departure at 2:30 p.m. on Friday, December 23, 2022, is cancelled.
- Owen Sound Transit: will continue to operate on the regular schedule. When a change to scheduled service is required, customer alerts are posted on the City’s website as soon as possible. For the most up-to-date information, people can check owensound.ca/transit or call Voyago directly at 519-465-0783
Mental Health Supports
- The Métis Nation of Ontario is offering a 24HR Mental Health and Addictions (MHA) 24/7 Crisis Line for anyone discharged from hospital, 1-877-767-7572.
Consider how you or your organization can create slower lanes this holiday!
Stay well, Jill